Of the European Christmas markets to enjoy, if you want one that’s steeped in tradition and brimming with festive spirit, then look no further than Nuremberg.

This German city transforms into an impressive wonderland for the festivities with its world-famous Christkindlesmarkt – a market that boasts a rich history and a unique charm. It’s one of the biggest markets with a lot to offer but there are other markets too.

What sets the Nuremberg Christmas Market apart from its rivals is its emphasis on tradition and authenticity.

That means the market is known for its wooden booths, often referred to as ‘the little city of wood and cloth’ and these house traditional crafts, often handmade, adding to the market’s charm and appeal.

Here, the Christmas.co.uk team takes a closer look at what you can enjoy at Nuremberg Christmas markets, how to get there and the tips you need.

When are the Nuremberg Christmas markets in 2024?

The dates for the main market in Nuremberg have been arranged years in advance but these are the diary dates for 2024:

  • Christkindlesmarkt 29 November to 24 December
  • Original regional 29 November to 23 December
  • Markt Der Partnerstädte (Sister Cities Market) 29 November to 23 December
  • Kinderweihnacht (Children’s Market) From 29 November to 24 December

The Christkindlesmarkt is held every year in the city’s central square, the Hauptmarkt. The market typically begins on the Friday preceding the first Sunday in Advent and ends on December 24.

We have listed the ‘Original regional’ market because while it is an extension of the Christkindlesmarkt, it’s really a market in its own right (and a very good one too albeit a lot smaller one than is found in the main square!).

The Christmas Market of the Sister Cities is on the square just north of the Christkindlesmarkt, and it adds some international flair with a wide range of arts and crafts. Also, some stalls are from Nuremberg’s sister cities (including Glasgow) and these take visitors on a journey around the world.

The Children’s Market on Hans-Sachs-Platz (next to the main square) began in 1999 with family attractions including a mini-Ferris wheel, a merry-go-round and a steam railway.

The history of Nuremberg’s Christmas markets

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt is held on the Hauptmarkt, a historic square, with the magnificent Gothic church (Church of Our Lady), which offers a great location.

This is one of the country’s oldest festive fairs which was first mentioned in 1628. Over the centuries, it has become one of the most famous Christmas markets in the world.

It started life as the Kindlesmarkt where religious items and spices were sold alongside children’s toys.

Over the years, the market became a cherished tradition and the focal point for festive celebrations – and a huge chunk of the city’s cultural identity.

Why visit Nuremberg Christmas markets?

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt really does offer a distinct experience that sets it apart from many other German Christmas markets. The reasons for visiting include:

Christkind: There’s a unique tradition which sees a young woman being chosen each year to portray the ‘Christkind’ – a Christmas angel who delivers the opening speech from the balcony of the Church of Our Lady. This ceremony, steeped in history and folklore, adds a touch of magic to the market’s inauguration.

  • Handcrafted delights: Nuremberg prides itself on its traditional crafts and there’s an abundance of stalls brimming with hand-blown glass ornaments, intricately carved wooden toys and exquisite Lebkuchen (gingerbread) figures, all crafted by skilled artisans.
  • Food and drink: Indulge your taste buds with Nuremberg’s festive fare from Rostbratwurst (grilled sausages that date from 1404!) cooked over charcoal fires, and the sweet and spicy flavours of gingerbread. Plus, there are the ever-popular mugs of Glühwein (mulled wine) to enjoy.
  • Medieval backdrop: There’s no doubt that the market’s backdrop adds to its allure, particularly the historic architecture of the Hauptmarkt square, with its half-timbered houses and Gothic church. At night, it does feel as though the market has been transported back in time.

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Nuremberg Christmas Market at Night

This high-resolution video from Prowalk Tours of Nurmeberg’s Christmas market is very impressive.

Starting at the Fleischbrücke Bridge, the video also covers Hauptmarkt, Schöner Brunnen and St Sebaldus Church.

It also covers Sister Cities Market and the excellent Children’s Market in Hans-Sachs-Platz.

We also enjoyed the scenic view of the city with shots of Museum Bridge, Königstraße, the Church of St Lorenz and Craftmen’s Courtyard.

Other markets that get a visit include Trödelmarkt and after a visit to Hangman’s Bridge, we finish at Maxbrücke Bridge.

The video is 96 minutes long, but it’s well-made and is worth watching.

There’s no commentary and the video tour speaks for itself.

The stalls look fantastic with a wide range of goods and treats – and everyone is wrapped up against the cold. Especially the traders who obviously have lots of layers on!

If you want a great way to understand what visiting Nuremberg’s Christmas markets will be like, then watch this video.

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Tips for your Nuremberg Christmas market adventure

While the Christmas markets in Nuremberg, it’s worth appreciating these tips so you can really enjoy what this city has to offer.

Clothes: Pack for cold weather since Nuremberg experiences chilly temperatures during December. That means bringing warm layers, a hat, gloves and comfortable walking shoes. We would also recommend thermal underwear if you are planning to stay outdoors for most of the day.

Money: Take cash (euros) – and plenty of it! While many traders will accept debit and credit cards, you’ll find that having cash, especially for smaller purchases and traditional handicrafts will be useful.

Souvenirs: Talking of handicrafts, Nuremberg offers handcrafted ornaments and Christmas decorations, along with traditional Lebkuchen (biscuits filled with different flavours) and there’s a chance to sample the local Schnapps, which is a strong spirit. Don’t miss the famous Zwetschgenmännle which is a local delicacy made with prunes and almonds.

  • German phrases: You’ll find that lots of traders and people will speak English, so it won’t hurt to learn a few useful German phrases such as Guten tag (Good day), Bitte (Please), Danke (Thank you) and Frohe Weihnachten (Merry Christmas).

How to travel to Nuremberg Christmas markets

The easiest and best way to get the Nurmberg’s Christmas markets is to fly. There are lots of flights from many UK airports.

  • Flights to Nuremberg: Flying from the UK to Nuremberg’s Christmas markets is quite straightforward. The airport is just five miles from the centre of the city and the carriers offering direct flights include Ryanair. You can fly from Stansted and Heathrow on Ryanair and British Airways. You can also fly from Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Belfast. The average flight time is just under two hours – though December is one of the priciest months to travel. We would recommend booking plane tickets well in advance and, according to Skyscanner.net, Ryanair offers the cheapest prices. Expect to pay between £40 and £100 to fly from Stanstead one way. We found a return deal for travel in December of £66 on Ryanair – though slightly dearer flights on the same carrier offer more convenience with travelling during the day.
  • Driving: You could drive to Nuremberg, but this can be time-consuming and costly with ferries and tolls. It will take nearly 11 hours to drive while a flight from London is less than two hours.
  • Train: You can travel from London to Nuremberg by train for £70. You’ll have to change trains twice and the quickest journey takes less than eight hours.
  • Bus: It’s a long journey and the cheap tickets start at £46 one-way. Leaving Victoria coach station, you’ll arrive at Nuremberg central bus station. However, you’ll be changing buses several times and the quickest journey takes 21.5 hours.

Where to stay in Nuremberg at Christmas

Like many German cities, there’s a good range of accommodation available in Nuremberg. We would recommend booking early because this is a popular festive destination.

It’s also a good idea to book hotels within walking distance of the markets. You could consider historic hotels like the Hotel Victoria, which is close to the train station and is in the Old Town. There’s also the Park Plaza Nuremberg which is a modern hotel located across from the main train station – it’s a short 12-minute underground train journey into the centre.

For a budget-friendly option, look at the Five Reasons Hotel and Hostel which is next to the city wall.

For more luxury, the Karl August hotel is well-placed between Nuremberg Castle and St Lorenz Church with quick access to the Hauptmarkt Christmas market. Other hotels nearby include Hotel Five.

According to Booking.com hotel rooms for four nights range from £136 to £495 when the city is busy with visitors.

Don’t forget there are cheap hostels and Airbnb offers several options, especially in the Old Town area. Choices include cosy rooms to entire apartments.

Check the Airbnb website for availability and prices as they can vary based on the date and type of accommodation.

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Nuremberg Christmas Market 2023

Another YouTube video with a commentary but Nuremberg’s Christmas market really does all the talking.

Here, Xplore Wonderworld has a good look around the stalls with excellent cakes and bratwurst, lebkuchen (cookies) and handmade gifts.

The video shows the trams in the city, and it is snowing – a reminder to be prepared should you visit.

Some of the stalls look like well-established medieval village and one stall is selling mulled wine (gluhwein) in a mug shaped like a boot – something many people would happily give up the deposit for!

There’s a lot for children to do with carousels and fairground rides, with some stalls doing a roaring trade in tasty crepes.

Some markets are busier than others, even during the day but all of the markets will impress.

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Other attractions to enjoy in Nuremberg

While enjoying the Christmas markets, Nuremberg also offers other great attractions to make your visit special. They include:

  • Nuremberg Castle: Explore the imposing Nuremberg Castle, a complex of fortifications offering stunning views of the city.
  • Documentation Center Nazi Party Rally Grounds: Learn about a sombre period in history at this museum, built on the former site of Nazi Party rallies.
  • Toy museum: Immerse yourself in the world of toys at the Spielzeugmuseum, housing an extensive collection of toys from across centuries.
  • Day trips: Explore the surrounding region and visit the picturesque town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a medieval gem with a charming Christmas market of its own, or visit the historic city of Bamberg, renowned for its breweries and its UNESCO-listed Altstadt (Old Town).

Christmas Markets beyond Nuremberg

Nuremberg might be a festive gem, but Germany boasts lots of other Christmas markets that are worth exploring, including:

  • Dresden Striezelmarkt: Said to be the oldest Christmas market in Germany, Dresden’s Striezelmarkt offers a festive atmosphere with a famous giant Christmas pyramid.
  • Cologne Christmas market: Renowned for its cathedral backdrop and lively atmosphere, Cologne’s Christmas market offers a dazzling display of lights and a vast array of stalls.
  • Munich Christkindlmarkt: The Bavarian capital boasts a large and lively Christmas market with a focus on traditional Bavarian crafts and Glühwein.

We would also recommend Berlin for its Christmas markets.

Christmas.co.uk tips for visiting Nuremberg Christmas markets

While the tips mentioned above are useful, we thought we’d add our own.

  • Beat the crowds: The main market can get crowded, especially on weekends. We’d recommend visiting on weekdays or early in the morning for a more relaxed experience – though it is worth a visit at night to enjoy the lights and atmosphere.
  • Keep warm: As mentioned, Nuremberg can get cold so take regular breaks in cafes or restaurants to warm up and recharge.
  • Planning: While most visitors will head for the Christkindlesmarkt it’s worth researching the stalls to prioritise the ones that most interest you. The market is really, really big and doing so will you navigate efficiently. This is where we say a trip to the Sister Cities Market is worth spending time at.
  • Enjoy: The best way to enjoy Nuremberg’s markets is to immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere. Chat with the local traders, enjoy the treats and take in the rich history that surrounds each of the markets.

Budgeting for your Nuremberg Christmas market trip in 2024

It’s always a good idea to appreciate what the potential costs of your trip will be so here’s a quick guide we’ve put together.

Food and drink: A basic lunchtime meal in the Old Town will be around €14. Opt for fast food and it will be €8. Eat on the markets and you’ll be paying between €5 and €10. Nuremberg Christmas Market mugs are €4-7 for the mulled wine plus a deposit of €5 for the mug. Beer in supermarkets is cheap and there are a lot of bars to enjoy – those off the beaten track will be cheaper.

Hotels: Budget hotels in Nuremberg start from around €60 per night, mid-range hotels will be €80 to €120 per night, and luxury hotels can go up to €200 per night – and more.

  • Transport: Public transport is cheap and regular with a one-way ticket costing around €3 and taxis can be expensive. We would recommend buying the Nuremberg Pass which offers an incredible deal for €33. You get free admission to lots of attractions and museums, discount activities and free travel on all public transport (in Zone A which most visitors will be in).

Also, the markets in Nuremberg can be pricey for the goods, especially the ornaments and unique gifts but then they haven’t been mass-produced. Expect to pay anywhere from €10 to €50 or more for quality souvenirs.

Enjoy the Christmas markets in Nuremberg

Nuremberg’s Christkindlesmarkt undoubtedly offers a unique blend of tradition, festive cheer and culture.

Whether you’re wanting to buy exquisite, handcrafted delights, indulge in culinary specialities like the iconic and tasty Rostbratwurst, or simply soak up the enchanting atmosphere steeped in history, Nuremberg’s Christmas market has something for everyone.

For many visitors, Germany offers a unique and unforgettable Christmas market experience.

There’s a lot to do, great gifts to buy and in Nuremberg there’s a festive market that really does enthral and impress.